Day 22 of 45 Days of Courage

It takes courage to be fiercely real.

Today I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for some time. So if you are looking for some wisdom, know that this post may not hold any, but it will definitely hold the ramblings of my early morning mind.

It is important to know that in this post I am not referring to any particular person or event. It is a general pattern I have been noticing both in my work and in my life. So many of the interactions I have in my office, for example, would be so much easier to resolve if we were real and honest. When it comes to kids, my own or my students, self protection is key, and I see the painful results when one person can’t or won’t just be real – other people get hurt. The person themself hurts because they feel less-than authentic.

I am tired of having to decipher what is real and what is an act. I am tired of having to determine whether someone is being honest with me or if they are sparing my feelings. And I am really tired of feeling like I have to prove myself when someone makes a judgement about me based almost entirely on made-up facts.

Why can’t we just be real? Be who you are. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Let your actions match your words.

Our world is already filled with plenty of opportunities to practice deciphering fact from fiction. Just turn on the news! In our personal interactions, let’s start being fiercely real.

Just a few thoughts…

1. Words do matter. Words have power. One thoughtlessly chosen word can destroy a person. Or at least ruin their day. So mean what you say and say what you mean.

2. Lies are never a good option. If you want to protect my feelings, a lie won’t help. Instead, tell me your truth in a gentle way. I would rather feel disappointed by the truth than betrayed by a lie.

3. Along the lines of truth telling… it is never okay to lie about another person just to make yourself look or feel better. Your words can, intentionally or unintentionally destroy a reputation, break a heart or shatter a soul. And they may never be able to put the pieces back together.

4. It is never too late to make things right.

It takes courage to be fiercely real. So get out there and be exactly who you are. Don’t sugar coat it. Don’t hide your amazing self behind a mask. Stop toning it down to make others comfortable. If you have an inner peacock, let him or her out.

Whatever your world looks like, know this…you are a miracle. You are the only one who can bring your special something to this world, so do it. We need you.

And if you speak or act in a way that is inconsistent with who you are or what you know to be real, have the courage to make it right. We all make mistakes. We all have pain and sometimes act in ways that we are not proud of. So have the courage to be real and make it right. You may be surprised at the power your truth can have in restoring a relationship. If you need help to make it right, that is ok. There are people – friends, parents, therapists, teachers etc., who will help you.

Please know that, while I am using the word “you” a lot, these thoughts and words are very much directed at me as well. None of us are perfect. None of us are comfortable living in our authenticity all the time.

Friends, let’s have the courage today to be fiercely real – in our words, in our actions, toward others and toward ourselves. Let’s make honesty and integrity marks of courage.

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